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Monday, January 9, 2017

Pre-Islamic Greatness Of The Rumpun Melayu : Langkasuka, Sri Vijaya, Majapahit

Here is something from Stamford Raffles. You can Yahoo the title to read the whole paper.  It will be worth your while.




This is from Pg 8 :

.. .Raffles believed that unlike their Muslim counterparts who were constantly at war, the Hindus/Buddhists lived in a state of peace and harmony. 

Writing in an almost dream-like way, Raffles asserted that  the Hindus/Buddhists “were literally seem to be almost without crime; they  are universally peaceable, interfere with no one, neither quarrel amongst  themselves”. 

Furthermore, unlike the Muslims, they were  never attracted to the evil vices of gambling and opium-smoking (Raffles 1991, p. 169).

Hence, Hinduism/Buddhism was to Raffles a great religion and  civilization, unlike Islam. 

One essential step to revive this lost civilization was the reinstitution of what was called the “village system”, in contrast to the decadent Islamic system. 

Raffles perceived that such a system was necessary to regain the past greatness of the Malay peoples, whose Hindu/Buddhist cultural matrix was still present behind the veneer of Islamic consciousness (Raffles 1991, p. 208). 

They must “revert to what they were supposed to be in the days of Majapahit and previously, when Hindu faith and institutions exclusively prevailed” (Raffles, vol. II, 1988, p. 312). 

Only then could peace and stability be restored, and British interests pursued.  

To support his earlier assertions, Raffles emphasized the literary  achievements of Hinduism/Buddhism which were subsequently ruined by the Muslims. 

To Raffles, the Hindu/Buddhist era had been  characterized by much poetic and literary creativity in contrast to the unimaginative texts produced by Muslims in the later period (Raffles  1991, p. 236).


My comments : I totally and absolutely agree with Raffles in the latter half of the very last paragraph above. 

Of course I am NOT including the Quran. Maybe Raffles never read the Quran or he may have read the Quran in poor translation. 

I believe the Malay race can be DNA based (so by DNA, mamaks cannot be Malay, sorry). But the Malay is also defined by geography, culture, diet and music.   The Nusantara is indeed the geographical domain of the Malay from Madagascar to Taiwan.  

Going back in local history the Malays achieved great successes in their early pre-Islamic history. 

Buddhist-Hindu Sri Vijaya (7th century - 14th century) and Hindu Majapahit (Java based but encompassing the Peninsula) from the 14th to 16th century were great empires. 

With the advent of Islam,  the Malay Empires also faded.  

Muslim Malacca was a flash in the pan. Malacca lasted just over 100 years from 1400 to1511.  I believe Malacca did not just pop out of nowhere in 1400 (that obviously apocryphal story of that pelandok or kijang kicking those dogs).  

The pre Malacca neighborhood included the great Malay civilisations like Buddhist-Hindu Sri Vijaya - just across the ditch in Riau.   Malacca was contemporary with Hindu Majapahit in Java.  

There were also the Tamil Cholas who had a more than 1000 year history from before the 3rd century until the 13th century. The Cholas had extensive links with Malay Sri Vijaya.  They even invaded Sri Vijaya at some point.       

So this was a very crowded neighborhood.

I see some local Malay historians trying to create a separate, unique Peninsula Malay history.  One 'acclaimed Malay historian' even said that the Bujang Valley (2nd century and perhaps contemporary with early Cholas) had no Hindu or Indian influence !!  This is the "ketuanan" confusion again.

The Malay history cannot and should not be isolated from the history of the Indonesian people ie Java, Sumatera (Samudra), Borneo (Brunei), the Sulu or even of Lapu-Lapu. These are the same people. There were no passports in those days. No immigration controls.  Before the Malacca Sultanate, these people never named it the Straits of Malacca.But they were criss crossing it for centuries.

Malay greatness faded away for the longest period in history (sadly the clock is still ticking) with the advent of Muslim Malacca.  The Muslim Malacca Sultanate faded away after just 100 years.

The same thing happened to Muslim Java, Sumatera, Sulawesi, Borneo (Brunei) aka modern Muslim majority Indonesia.    

Muslim Indonesian history (post Sri Vijaya, post Majapahit) has faded away for the longest time (sadly their clock is still ticking too).  Where are their successors in greatness? 

As an 'islamised' people the rumpun Melayu have not been able to outshine the greatness they achieved when they were NOT yet Muslims.
.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed tried to rebuild a Muslim Malay civilisation.  He is a mamak. DNA lain. But 22 years is too short a time. 

Maybe with smart phones you can do it in say another 10 years.  But you must read OutSyed The Box  : )    

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